(September 28, 2011)
Contact: Dena Pruett, Centenary Marketing & Communication, 318.869.5715
Centenary College to Join Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College President David Rowe announced today that the College has accepted an invitation for membership to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) beginning with the 2012-13 academic year.
"The move to SCAC is about optimizing the experience of our student-athletes," said Dr. Rowe. "One of the great advantages of the move is the ability of our athletes to compete in post-season play next year and be immediately eligible for conference awards and records. This is something not available to us in our current conference because of our reclassifying status."
Dr. Rowe continued, "This shift is not about leaving a conference as much as it is about going toward a new relationship that is overall a better long-term fit for Centenary. We are grateful to Commissioner Amy Carlton and the American Southwest Conference (ASC) for guiding us through the challenging steps of reclassification and welcoming us into our first DIII home. We hope to continue to play ASC schools and establish in-state and cross-border rivalries with our ASC neighbors in many sports."
Centenary will join other small, private liberal arts colleges in the SCAC whose students share similar learning experiences and campus environments. Centenary also joins institutions with shared academic commitments, including Associated Colleges of the South sister schools Trinity University and Southwestern University. Other SCAC institutions include Austin College, University of Dallas, and Colorado College.
"This is a great day for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference," said Austin College president Marjorie Hass, who currently serves as the chair of the SCAC Board of Directors. "Centenary College brings a strong academic profile, grounded in the liberal arts, and a broad-based athletics philosophy that aligns perfectly with the current membership. We look forward to many years of spirited athletics competition and student-athlete development with our new partner."
The shift to the SCAC will open up new competitive opportunities for Centenary's student-athletes, such as conference competition for men's and women's swimming and men's lacrosse. The SCAC annually sends numerous teams and individuals to NCAA championships with success, including 47 teams in 2009-10.
"We are thrilled to welcome Centenary College into the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference family," said SCAC commissioner Dwayne Hanberry. "As we look to the future, the conference's primary focus is to build a strong NCAA Division III conference that reflects the high academic and athletic goals and standards that has made the SCAC one of the preeminent Division III conferences in the nation. The addition of Centenary is an important first step in that process."
SCAC members operate under the principle that opportunities for students to participate in varsity sports should be maximized and should stem from student interest and enjoyment of athletic competition. In keeping with these ideals, SCAC only allows conference competition on non-academic days.
"Our focus is always on providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes in line with the mission of the college," said Dr. Will Broussard, Director of Athletics. "We've seen conference shake-ups throughout the NCAA recently, and this phenomenon has included Division III schools in the South. Many colleges and universities are examining conference re-affiliation as a way of supporting shifting priorities. Athletics in the SCAC will be the perfect complement to the overall cultural, educational, and competitive experience students receive here at Centenary."
Centenary College began the move to reclassify to NCAA Division III athletics in 2010. Division III's focus on academics and the scholar-athlete match Centenary's own academic goals. Since joining the Division, Centenary has made significant progress toward bolstering the Division III athletic program and the student-athlete population. More than half of this year's freshman class identify themselves as student-athletes. The College recently announced that men's lacrosse will become an intercollegiate varsity sport starting in the 2012-13 academic year. Though the season has just begun, both the men's and women's soccer teams boast winning records — 4-2 for the Gents and 5-4 for the Ladies — and the volleyball team is holding even at 5-5.
"In our short time as a Division III institution, our student-athletes have come to appreciate the focus of what it means to be a DIII athlete," said Dr. David Hoaas, Faculty Athletics Representative at Centenary. "As we join the SCAC, this experience can only continue to grow. Our student-athletes can quickly identify with any of the other SCAC schools."
The SCAC sponsors conference championships in 21 sports, including 10 for men and 11 for women. The conference was founded in 1962 and is committed to the priority of overall quality academic standards and educational experiences. For more information, visit www.SCACsports.com.
About Centenary College of Louisiana
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.